The Highest Gift


In this world there are various aspects of living, but actually, the same purpose is expected. Living beings are maintained by nutriments. We eat for living, not living for eating. We take meal with compassion and loving-kindness, not because of physical strength or health. With awareness of what is happening to our lives, we bear to have moderate food daily. As a baby always needs milk to drink daily, therefore the beloved mother with compassion and loving-kindness provides the baby’s need. And then he is also in need of mother’s care in life to grow wisely in the world. This can be called a great gift for him. ‘Gift’ is what we need to get and to give in life. Do we know how many kinds of ‘Gift’ we need in life? How do we behave in order to get ‘Gift’ from others? Why do we have to give ‘Gift’ to others? And what is the use of giving ‘Gift’?

 

‘Gift’ is literally meant ‘a thing that we give to someone, especially on a special occasion or to say thank you’. Many things around us can be given to someone as ‘Gift’ no matter how the things are, good or bad. But what I want to point out here is the Highest Gift. There are two kinds of ‘Gift’, the Gift of Materiality and the Gift of Truth, that we can do offering. Which ‘Gift’ is the highest? From the Buddhist standpoint of view, the Gift of Truth is the Highest Gift.

Firstly, the Gift of Materiality should be understood. As a well-being should be aware of what he is doing daily. We are here because of our thoughts from life to life. We are here because of our Kamma (action). Literally, we reap what we sow. According to the seed that is sown, so is the fruit we reap therefrom, the doer of good will gather good, the doer of evil, evil reaps. We are advised to do offering daily as much as we can for the benefit of many, for peace and happiness of the world and also for the welfare of all mankind. The four requisites, cloth, food, dwelling, and medicine can be donated to all people who require. We earn honestly for living no matter where in the world we are. With compassion and loving-kindness from the bottom of heart we share what we have such as cloths, food, dwelling, medicine, and other materials with those who are lack of merits living difficultly around us. Without compassion and loving-kindness we are not able to do offering even a piece of bread to the poor. Being faithful in the law of Kamma, we understand that we were born in this world with the wealthy family, not because of unknown external agency or supreme power. The universal teacher of all says that giving cloth is called giving beauty; giving food means giving strength; giving dwelling place is to give happiness or comfort; and giving medicine is to offer longevity (healthiness). In addition, as a good citizen in the society must not live selfishly because thousands of people are starving and need our helps. We should give even if we only have a little. It is believed that our properties can be divided into four parts in order to live peacefully and happily. First part of earning is for the support of children; the second part is for the support of our beloved parents; the third part is for the support of daily living (payment for food, water, electricity, health care etc..,); and the fourth part is for doing charity or doing social service.

Secondly, the Gift of Truth must be critically studied in our daily lives. Hence I would like to remind that ‘all beings are maintained by nutriment’. In Buddhism there are four kinds of nutri- ment being used daily, namely, material nutriment, contact, mental volition and consciousness. And ‘Truth’ here is referred to ‘the Teaching’. This word is familiar to all learned people in the world, especially the religious practitioners. Since we were in our mother’s womb, we have been taught something mentally. I thought our beloved mothers had difficulties to teach us when we were still in their wombs, but they had to pray hundred times for us to be well-born and to be good citizen in the society when we were given to birth. Then the Education is gradually provided to us. Our parents taught us how to call them and how to live righteously in this modern world. The Lord Buddha says ‘the Gift of Truth excels all other gifts’. We can lead righteous life with the right knowledge we have learnt from our own beloved parents, relatives, teachers, schools, and societies since we were child. The right knowledge given to us is the highest Gift. With right understanding of everything we will be aware of what is happening to us. It means we are living peacefully and happily in the present moment and with mindfulness. The Awakened One says, ‘Mindfulness is the way to the Deathless; unmindfulness is the way to Death. Those who are mindful do not die; those who are not mindful are as if already dead’. This verse is very essential to everyone. This is the best Gift given by the Lord Buddha more than 2600 years ago. It has been well kept in the sacred books of Buddhism through centuries for the purpose of all mankind. Now it is good time to share what we have learned through Buddhism with those who are interested. The Lord Buddha says, “Go forth, O Bhikkhus, for the good of the many, for the happiness of the many, out of compassion for the world, for the good, benefit, and happiness of gods and men… Let not two go by one way. Preach, O Bhikkhus, the Dhamma, excellent in the beginning, excellent in the middle, excellent in the end, both in spirit and in the letter. Proclaim the Holy Life altogether, perfect and pure. There are beings with a little dust in their eyes, who, not hearing the Dhamma, will fall away. There will be those who understand the Dhamma”. It is believed that the Gift of Truth can be given in various ways as follows:

 

How we firstly drop into new subject

–       Making likeness to relevant subject by thinking it will help to your future

–       Focusing full concentrate to that subject

–       Making persistence to your mind that “I can learn & understand this subject”

–       Understanding & making clear to yourself – new ideas about that subject

–       Throw away ideas & thoughts that aren’t help or related to your new subject

–       Use that new idea to your day to day life

 

Buddhist Way to Increase Memory (Combination from Buddhist teachings)

–       Ask questions about subjects from yourself & teachers

–       Keep your education or personal room & your body clean & neat way

–       Your devotion must be same as wisdom & your persistence must be same as concentration time

–       Get away from bad & negative people or negative places that help to discourage you

–       Stay with great & wise people or stay alone

–       Read about past life stories of Lord Buddha (Jataka Stories) & try to learn difficult Sutra Dharma

–       Do every works with right mind – Keep concentration

 

Traditional Five Educational Rules of Buddhism

–          Listening very well – Now also reading

–          Keeping those things in your remember

–          Talking or writing down what you remember or read loudly

–          Experience & Investigating what you learnt

–          Connect new things with previous learnt things & your current life

 

What actually we need to learn

–          Differences between Merits & Bad things

–          Differences between Right & Wrong

–          Who must be friends of us & Who must not

–          What important to your Future & What are not

–          One or more skill to making money

–          About four noble truths

–          Meditation techniques

Responsibilities of Teachers For Students

–          Teach and practice them social customs, precepts and religious activities

–          Teach all what you leant from your teachers – Don’t keep hidden things

–          Introduce your students to your friends who in higher level in relevant felid

–          Save your students from hazards (social & environmental) as their father & mother

–          As a teacher you need to keep good character for sample you to your students

 

In short, the Gift of Truth is needed. As we have already known on life’s journey: FAITH is nourishment, VIRTUOUS DEEDS are a shelter, WISDOM is the light by day and RIGHT MINDFULNESS is the protection by night. Without the gift of Truth we are not able to live peacefully and happily in the world. Actually, everyone needs such Gift in life, but not everyone gets it. For those who receive and give the Gift of Truth will live in Joy, in Love, even among those who hate; they live in Joy, in Health, even among the afflicted; they live in Joy, in Peace, even among the troubled. Anyway, in our daily living we need both of Gift, the Gift of Materiality and the Gift of Truth. But these two Gifts give different results. The Gift of Material only brings a lot of problems to human lives, while the Gift of Truth brings ultimate peace and happiness to the world.

Therefore, from now on we should start to learn how to give and to get the special Gift in life. As we want to taste the joy of freedom, we should keep in mind that there is no fire like greed, no crime like hatred, no sorrow like separation, no sickness like hunger of heart, and no joy like the joy of freedom. Hunger is the greatest affliction, conditionality the greatest source of despair. The wise, seeing this as it is realise liberation, the greatest joy.

Colombo, Sri Lanka, 21 January 2012

Ven. Suy Sovann (Paññàvaro)

 

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